Paper No. 24
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
USING SEISMOLOGY TO TEACH HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICAL SCIENCE
An investigation of three computer-based teaching modules was carried out in 7 high schools across South Carolina. The modules utilize inquiry-type of instruction with Internet manipulation of seismic data and Earth physics concepts to teach high school level Physical Science and Physics. All modules were developed in accordance with the South Carolina high school science standards. The South Carolina high school science standards are based on the national science standards. The modules were used with Physical Science students (generally freshman and sophomore level) and Physics students (generally junior and senior level) in over 21 classes. Teachers were interviewed to determine how best to implement modules in their classroom. Teachers were given the choice of testing a single module with their classes or a set of modules given as group. Testing involved using standardized pre-tests and post-tests on all content covered. We found that when 2 or 3 modules were taught sequentially, students showed significant gains in subject matter knowledge. These tests also demonstrated good reliability. However, when testing was based on a single module, the test was not reliable and students showed no gain in subject matter knowledge. Interviews with teachers informed us that frustration related to problems with computer hardware or slow data acquisition due to Internet or school computer network issues caused several teachers not to participate in the study. We conclude that when 2 or 3 of our inquiry-based and seismology-based modules are used and tested together, and when hardware and data acquisition problems are not an issue, the use of these modules can result in significant gains in student knowledge in Physical Science or Physics concepts.